Vertebral-Venous fistulas: Single center experience and practical treatment approach.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Interv Neuroradiol


washington; swedish; swedish neuro


BACKGROUND: Vertebral-venous fistulas (VVFs) are rare. Scarce literature exists to guide our understanding and management. We report our experience and propose a classification based on flow, feeder number, and involvement of accessible veins. Additionally, we include a practical treatment approach.

METHODS: Retrospective chart and imaging review of cerebrovascular arteriovenous fistulas treated in our center between July 2013 and April 2022. We reviewed patient demographics, presentation, imaging, treatment strategies, and outcomes.

RESULTS: Nine patients with VVFs were identified, six were females. Ages ranged between 38-83 years. There were six high-flow and three low-flow. Most VVFs originated at the level of V3. Additional feeders from the internal carotid artery, external carotid artery, and/or subclavian artery were present in four cases (two were high-flow). Four cases had multiple arterial feeders. All cases were symptomatic. Origin was spontaneous in eight and iatrogenic in one case. Most common presenting symptoms were pain (7) and pulsatile tinnitus (4). Neurological deficits were present in two cases (1 high- and 1 low-flow). Four cases were treated with vertebral artery segmental sacrifice alone, three required multiple transarterial embolizations with or without VA sacrifice, one case had single transvenous approach, and one was treated with single targeted transarterial embolization. One patient had a minor transient neurological complication. No treatment-related mortality was seen.

CONCLUSION: Treatment of high-flow and symptomatic low-flow VVFs is feasible and safe. Our classification and treatment approach might help guide patient selection and choice of endovascular approach. However, our approach warrants further validation with a larger number of patients.

Clinical Institute

Neurosciences (Brain & Spine)